On Pride (Vol. 2) Two Categories of Pride

by Blake Newsom | Feb 29, 2024

Pride is difficult to see in the mirror. When we do see pride staring back at us, we tend to ignore it like extra pounds added over the holidays. It is there, but somehow we simply cannot believe it. Yeah, we notice its presence in everyone else, but never ourselves. Why is that? 

I don’t think we truly understand what pride is, which was the purpose of the first article on pride. To recap, pride is an overemphasis on and inflated view of self, which inherently causes a deflated view of God. As Ps. 10:4 states, “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” 

C.S. Lewis greatly helped my understanding of pride. He stated, “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. . . Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

Pride: Category One

Lewis also helped identify pride by categorizing it into two main types. The first type of pride occurs when a person is particularly impressed with himself or herself. This is thinking highly of oneself. This is the type of pride that occurs when a person prizes and prioritizes himself/herself over and above others. 

This type of pride will lead to a false sense of security as the person finds himself/herself as the source and substance of security. This person truly believes that he/she is worthy of prizing and prioritizing. All other people and all other activities in this person’s life are seen to orbit around him/her as the planets orbit the sun. In this person’s perspective, God is demoted to personal butler, wish granter, and concierge so he/she might live the life he/she has always desired to live, which of course is a life of comfort, safety, and pleasure. This person’s entire existence and therefore approach to God is self-centered and self-oriented. Relationships are self-centered and self-oriented as others are viewed through the lens of only what they have to offer.

Pride: Category Two 

The second type of pride occurs when a person is not particularly impressed with himself/herself; consequently, he or she desperately needs others to be impressed with him or her. These people wants others to think highly of them. They wants others to prize, to prioritize them over and above others. 

This type of pride is fueled by a deep sense of insecurity. Since the person sees himself/herself as invaluable, inferior, and generally inconsequential; the only hope for any sense of self-worth is for it to come from another. Consequently, this type mirrors the first type of pride in effect and application. Again, others are seen to orbit around him/her, God is demoted to acquiesce to this person’s insecurities. The person’s entire existence becomes self-centered and self-oriented as the beast of insecurity must be fed by others. Relationships are self-oriented as others are viewed through the lens of what they have to offer. 

Pride: The Solution

Ultimately, as we saw in the first article on pride, we must recognize the solution to pride. Stop focusing on self; focus on God. God offers what can fill the empty life of insecurity. God offers what can satisfy the thirsty soul. Look to Jesus. As we are told in Hebrews 12:2-3, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

Fix your eyes on Jesus and consider Him. Stop fixing your eyes on self, and stop being consumed by self. Humility comes by focusing on Jesus. 

Not only will your relationship with God grow exponentially, but also your relationship with others will benefit. Prideful people in either category cannot experience healthy relationships. They are always the center, the focal point of their world. They are selfish; consequently, they do not allow vulnerability. Being around a truly prideful person is incredibly frustrating, wasteful, and draining. However, being around a truly humble person is an incredibly rewarding, beneficial, and enriching experience. Grow deeper in your relationships with others, and build the sort of Christian relationships that are strong enough to call one another out on pride.

Blake Newsom
Associate Professor of Expository Preaching

Blake Newsom, Ph.D. serves as Associate Professor of Expository Preaching and Director of the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Previously, he served as Dean of the Chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as Senior Pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, AL.